Vanishing Childhood

Childhood spirit is at risk

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) It's often said that children grow up too quickly in modern society. Now, the so-called "Spirit of Childhood" has been placed on the endangered species list.

A new global report that defines the spirit of childhood as the chance to enjoy simple, carefree moments also says that such enjoyment is on the decline.

"Give children the chance to be kids."

The Global Spirit of Childhood Report, released by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the OREO brand, states that the spirit of childhood is on the decline for adults as well as children. Spanning the world from China to Portugal to Venezuela, Ipsos measured such things as fun and delight by surveying more than 7,000 parents with minor children, via online or in-person interviews in 20 countries.

Researchers found that grown-ups everywhere yearn for the type of lighthearted enjoyment they had when they were kids. However, 59 percent of adults worldwide say they don't have fun on a daily basis, and 54 percent reported that the rarely experience the feelings of delight that they did as children.

And sadly, such experiences don't seem to be as readily available for today's kids. The vast majority of parents surveyed believe that children are growing up more quickly today than in previous generations.

Ipsos was charged with trying to understand if people around the world, of all ages, are taking enough time to experience the simple joys of childhood. While the spirit of childhood may be at risk, the desire for it as not weakened.

63 percent of parents say that spending time having fun with their children is more important to them than it was to their own parents, and seven out of 10 said their children should have more time to "just be kids."

And having that carefree time is worth more than money, to most. More than half of the parents surveyed in many countries, including Mexico and India, said that they would trade part of their salary in exchange for more time with their children.

Across each of the countries included in the survey, four out of five parents said that having fun as a family was more important than anything else.

The report found that technology may be a culprit, bringing a "double-edged sword." While two-thirds of parents said that technology helps their families stay connected, it also distracts nearly half of them from their time with their family. This is especially true of working parents, for whom 55 percent say that their tech devices interfere with time with family at home.

But there is hope. Eighty-eight percent of parents are committed to making sure their kids don't miss out on childhood, and most want to be more carefree themselves.

"As we regularly talk with consumers worldwide, we consistently hear about the importance of experiencing the carefree feelings of childhood at any age," said Sheeba Philip, Global Brand Director for OREO. "Across continents and cultures, one thing we have in common is the desire to celebrate the kid inside all of us."

The survey was conducted during a six-week period between November and December of 2011. The countries included in the survey were: Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States and Venezuela.

Reviewed by: 
Kraft Foods
Last Updated:
February 14, 2012